On February 12, 1809 Thomas and Nancy Lincoln welcomed their first son, Abraham, into the world. Abraham was named after his grandfather who was killed by Indians in 1786 near Nolin Creek in Hardin County, Kentucky. (Stone 8) Young Abraham spent the first few years in Nolin Creek but by the age of two his father, in search of better farming land, moved them a few miles away to Knob Creek. Lincoln’s family was against slavery even though at one time his family had owned slaves. They gave up that practice before Lincoln was born and his family even left their church to join one that supported antislavery. When young Abraham was old enough, he began helping his father with all the farm work and he too shared in the belief that owning slaves was wrong.
Lincoln’s mother, even though illiterate, believed that her children needed and education so she would recite scriptures she had committed to memory to them daily and she encouraged them to attend school whenever possible. Abraham was eager to learn, so when his chores were finished he and his sister, Sarah, would walk over two miles to attend school. In 1816, at the age of 7, Abraham and his family moved again and this time they moved to the free state of Indiana where land was cheap and slavery was not allowed. (Stone 10) It was here that Abraham’s mother became ill from milk sickness and later died at the age of 34. Abraham’s father needed a wife and mother, so the following year he married an old friend named Sara Bush Johnson. For the next several years Abraham would continue working on the farm and attending school whenever possible. Abraham in his free time would help the neighbors read their mail and also enjoyed writing poetry. On a page in his arithmetic book he wrote,
his hand and pen
he will be good
but god knows when.” (Stone 16)
In 1828 after his sister Sara died during child birth, he decided to leave Pigeon Creek for good and he went to work for a man named James Gentry. He worked for Mr. Gentry’s ferry boat company for a number of years and then in 1831, he left for the town of New Salem. It was here that Abraham decided to continue his education and to pursue his passion for law. Even though he only had one year of education, he was a quick and eager learner. He sparked the interest of James Rutledge, the founder of the New Salem Debating Society. Rutledge urged Lincoln to continue studying and loaned him his law books. Lincoln was a quick study and before long he was drafting law papers for the locals and giving his opinions to the courts.
In 1832 Rutledge convinced Abraham to run for state legislature, but unfortunately the Black Hawk war broke out and Abraham and his friends were volunteers. By the time the war was over he had very little time to campaign, so he was unsuccessful in winning the election. After losing the election, Lincoln returned home and worked several different jobs over the next several years. He was a joint owner of a...